We had some cherries that we needed to do something with, so Michelle made a pie filling base with them by pitting and boiling them with some water, lemon juice, and sugar. She did this the night before so it would be chilled before adding to the top of the warm cheesecake.
We then used as a stepping off point the basic no-bake recipe from the Punta Clara Kitchen Cookbook on Cherry Cream Cheese Delights. If you’re ever in Point Clear, Alabama stop by for some of their delicious candy.
As Michelle doesn’t really care for sweetened condensed milk (I think she’s actually from another planet), we went with a more traditional baked cheesecake with Greek yogurt. We added two hits of chocolate with some semi-sweet morsels and some sweet ground chocolate.
While I’m not usually a fan of combining (adulterating) chocolate and fruit, these are a perfect match of deep chocolate flavor with creamy cheesecake and sweet-tart cherries!
Cherry Pie Filling
4 cups fresh pitted cherries, about 2 1/2 pounds
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cherries, water, lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.
Cool slightly before using as a topping.
We used a little more than half the recipe of cherry filling in the bars. The rest we are putting in the Chocolate Pound Cake!
Chocolate Cherry Cream Cheese Bars
1 cups graham crackers
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 – 8 ounce package cream cheese
1/2 cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa
1/4 cup Greek yogurt, plain
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 recipe (or can) of cherry pie filling
Melt the butter in an 8×8 dish as the oven warms to 350 degrees F. Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs evenly over the melted butter and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and scatter the chocolate morsels over the warm crust to begin melting.
Beat together the cream cheese and ground chocolate. Mix in the Greek yogurt, egg, vanilla and salt. Beat in flour. Pour over graham cracker crust and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before covering the top with the cherry pie filling. Cool in the fridge before cutting and serving.